Secrets to Detecting a Lie

Do you always tell the truth?

Of course you don’t and neither do I. Most people lie everyday. It’s not that they get out of bed and plot their lies, it’s more like people lie to smooth over situations, to ensure someone’s feeling don’t get hurt and to fit in socially. Most of these lies are pretty harmless.

But what about an employee, colleague or leader who lies about their practice, behaviour or specific situations? Would it be helpful to know if they are lying? I’m guessing . . . “Yes!”

I recently had the privilege of hearing a colleague, Traci Brown, give a presentation on how to detect lying . . . and I’m going to share some of her secrets with you.


Before I begin, remember . . .

Do not judge these behaviours in isolation!


To detect lying, you need to consider the entire situation and conversation. The following ‘secrets’ are considered additional tools to detect lying.

Ok, here we go . . .


Secrets To Detecting a Lie:

  1. The Body Cannot Lie!
  • When words are saying one thing and the body is saying another, remember the body tells the truth.
  • For example a nodding head means “Yes” and a shaking head means “No.”
  • When I say, “I like your haircut” and subtly shake my head – what do you think my true thoughts are?
  • When I say, “I would never call in sick to go skiing” while subtly nodding my head, what do you think the truth is?
  1. Mouth Cover
  • When people want to withhold information, they cover their mouth
  • It’s kind of like they are trying to prevent deceitful words from exiting their mouth.
  • It doesn’t matter whether one finger is used to cover the lips, or an entire fist, the meaning is the same.
  1. Neck Rub
  • When people feel scared, nervous or worried, they touch or rub their neck
  • Stressful circumstances prompt our brain to stimulate certain behaviours that are protective, pacifying and unique i.e. The neck rub
  • Women may also pacify by playing with their necklace which equates to the neck rub.

Ok, there you have it . . . 3 secrets to detecting a lie.

Use them wisely and use them in conjunction with the other information being offered in terms of conversation and behaviours.

To Your Success,

Barb Langlois RN, BSN, MSN


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  • “The workshop was wonderful!! Barb walked the talk by continuously demonstrating the tips and skills she was teaching! It was amazing to see it all come together. I would recommend the workshop to anyone who has to present.”

    Bev Waite, Education Lead-Nursing,

    Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

  • I told one of the nurse educators that it was the best 3 hours I have spent in a training session as the content was clear, relevant, exactly enough to be able to incorporate into presentations, and you demonstrated each point which was great. It was watching an expert at work.

    Aideen Carroll, Advanced Practice Nurse Educator

    Toronto General Hospital

  • Your workshop was also a big hit. It was interesting to hear people talk about it as not good, but great.

    Debbie Ross

    CMP Manager of Governance and Events CNA

  • After working with Barb, our team returned to work energized, enthused and inspired to utilize tools that increase our communication, clarity and relationship with not only each other, but also with the residents and families that we serve. I would highly recommend Barb if you want to bring out the best in your team.

    Dale Clements, Administrator

    Columbus Residence

  • Barb Langlois led a wonderful one day workshop for 45 Clinical Nurse Educators in Saskatoon Health Region. She worked with us in advance to really understand our learning needs, Six months later, I see CNEs using Barb’s techniques to engage learners and I use them myself in my own presentations. I strongly recommend Barb – she is a very skilled facilitator who connects with learners in a very meaningful and effective way.

    Margot Hawke RN, BSN, MCEd, Nursing Professional Practice Lead

    Saskatoon Health Region

  • Barb is a gifted and dynamic presenter. Communication concepts were presented in a lighthearted way such that developing ideas for organizational change and group work seemed like play. I would definitely recommend her workshops!

    Lisa Jesso MN, RN


  • The workshop was a home-run!! The nurses found the tools so useful and practical for their everyday communication. They also were engaged the entire time!

    Louise Peterson, CNE

    UBC Hospital


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